One of the most important aspects of properly governing a public resource is being prepared for what-ifs. This is the rationale of strategic planning, to be prepared for the what-ifs.
The Parkway, after implementation of the 1985 Parkway Plan, was prepared for the what-ifs.
The planners, and the enabling state legislation, wisely included in the plan a five-year review and update process to account for the dynamics of an unknown future, a crucial element to good planning.
However, Parkway management ignored the review and update process.
They ignored it in 1990, in 1995, and in 2000.
Finally, after several serious problems have emerged and grown into full-blown catastrophes, including public safety and illegal camping on the Lower Reach, visually encroaching building on Parkway perimeters upriver, and steadily eroding maintenance funding, and the final insult of the threatened closure of the Parkway in 2004, an update process is well underway.
Add to this dismal set of circumstances a complete inability, due to not being able to even meet basic needs, to strengthen the Parkway with additional acquisitions or enhancements; and you have the basic reasoning why our organization was formed in 2003.
Here is an excellent article about strategic planning.
What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning can be used to determine mission, vision, values, goals, objectives, roles and responsibilities, timelines, etc.
Strategic planning is a management tool, period. As with any management tool, it is used for one purpose only: to help an organization do a better job - to focus its energy, to ensure that members of the organization are working toward the same goals, to assess and adjust the organization's direction in response to a changing environment. In short, strategic planning is a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. (Adapted from Bryson's Strategic Planning in Public and Nonprofit Organizations)
A word by word dissection of this definition provides the key elements that underlie the meaning and success of a strategic planning process: The process is strategic because it involves preparing the best way to respond to the circumstances of the organization's environment, whether or not its circumstances are known in advance; nonprofits often must respond to dynamic and even hostile environments. Being strategic, then, means being clear about the organization's objectives, being aware of the organization's resources, and incorporating both into being consciously responsive to a dynamic environment.
For the rest of the article: http://www.nonprofits.org/npofaq/03/22.html